Property managers face a ton of issues on a day-to-day basis, not just from tenants but also from property owners. Some of these issues can get property managers in legal trouble. But, what exactly are the legal liabilities of property managers?
Be Wary of the Legal Liabilities of Property Managers
Property managers are responsible for managing a high valued asset for their clients. As such, being a property manager is a considerable responsibility. Property owners typically enter into detailed contracts with property managers. These contracts specify what exactly the property manager is liable to avoid potential legal liabilities with tenants.
Even if a clear contract is drafted, there are still issues that property managers need to be prepared for. Especially in the event that a dispute arises with the property owner. To have a clear understanding of the potential legal liabilities of property managers, it is highly recommended to review the information below:
1. Crimes at the Property
Depending on the exact wording of the contract, the property manager may be liable for damages related to crimes committed at the property. Property managers must have a clear strategy to protect the property and keep it in the best possible condition.
If you are a property manager, make sure to carefully look over your contract. This way, you can ascertain what exact preparations you must take to provide the property with the most protection possible.
2. Environmental Hazards
Environmental hazards are a common legal liability of property managers. Mold, lead, or pests are some examples of environmental hazards that property managers can be liable for. It is important for property managers to regularly inspect these issues.
Such growths are quite serious and can cause harm to the tenants leasing the property. Property management companies can be found liable for mold, lead, or pest issues if it can be demonstrated that they should have known the risk and the requirement to make repairs.
3. Tenant Injuries
If a tenant is injured from something that a property manager should have known to repair, then the property management company can be liable for the tenant’s injuries. It is important for property management companies to regularly conduct industry-standard inspections.
This way, they can show proof that they have been living up to their required responsibilities under the contract. This will also help shield them from liability if a negligence claim should arise from an injured tenant.
4. Actions from Tenant’s Animals
If a tenant has an animal, the property management company must clear it with the property owner first. They must also make sure that the animal is not a threat to the neighborhood.
If a property management company, for example, has knowledge that the tenant purchased a Pitbull and that Pitbull is aggressive, the property management company must ask the tenant to remove the Pitbull from the property.
Should the property management company do nothing and the Pitbull attacks a neighbor, the property management company has the potential to be liable for injuries that the neighbor sustained.
5. Defective Construction
Property managers must also be wary of construction. A property management company must supervise renovations or constructions on the property intently. If the construction was defective under the company’s supervision, they can be held liable for the damages. Property management companies have to be extra careful to make sure they are selecting reputable licensed contractors with extensive experience.
Beyond choosing a qualified contractor, property management companies have to constantly inspect whether any project has defective construction. If there are any, the company must request renovations to keep tenants safe. If the property management company fails at these responsibilities, they could face liability resulting from any injuries that occur on the property.
6. Tenant’s Actions
Property management companies can also be liable for actions committed by tenants. For instance, if a tenant has been cyber-stalking a neighbor, property managers must take the neighbor’s complaint seriously. If the property management company ignores the complaint and then an assault occurs as a result, the company can be held liable for not removing the tenant promptly.
Property management companies are responsible for finding qualified tenants for the properties that they manage. These tenants need to not only have the ability to pay, but they must also not disrupt the community.
Furthermore, these tenants must follow all local laws. If the property management company does not follow these strict guidelines, they may face additional penalties for not following an essential part of their property management contract.
How Can Your Property Management Company Shield Itself from Liability?
There is only so much that they can do to shield themselves from liability. That reality may be harsh, but it is nonetheless true. There are always new threats emerging in the real estate sector that may not have been anticipated in property management contracts.
That said, there are many protections that property management companies can provide themselves. By following their part of the property management contract seriously, they can protect both their tenants and themselves.
Another golden rule for property management companies is to provide quality service to their tenants. It is quite common for disputes to arise when property management companies are not holding up their end of the agreement and the tenants suffer as a result.
Property management companies should also review their contracts with their clients each year to ensure that there have been no fundamental legislation changes that could impact their liability in their contract. If they are able to think with this mindset, then it will be possible to shield their property management company from as many potential legal liabilities as possible.
Take These Legal Liabilities for Property Managers Seriously
It is important to know the legal liabilities of property managers. After all, awareness is the first step in protecting your entity from litigation. Everyone knows lawsuits bring forth many headaches. They eat up your time and money, not to mention give your company a bad reputation even if you end up winning the case.
Follow your contract agreement religiously and make sure to inspect the property regularly. By doing so, you can shield yourself and others from unwanted damages.
If your property management company is looking for a partner in advertising, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. Your satisfaction is our guarantee.
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